Jesus’ resurrection was known

In the evidence outside of the Bible for the historical Jesus of Nazareth, there were references to His divinity—that He was considered to be God by His followers. Why would people think Jesus was God? From the previous chapter we saw that Jesus taught large crowds, had many followers, healed various diseases, cast out demons, received worship, and at His trial admitted that He was “the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One” in Mark 14:61-62. Yet the resurrection of Jesus stands alone as a defining moment to illustrate Who He was and is. No other religious figure in history has done this. Abraham, the father of Judaism, Mohammed, the founder of Islam, and Buddha, after whom Buddhists name themselves, did not rise from the dead.

Obviously, the Bible records the resurrection. The four Gospel writers state it as factual, as does Luke in Acts 26:22-26. Notice how Paul, on trial for preaching about the resurrection, raised the objective evidence of Jesus’ empty tomb in defense of his faith.

“But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.”

Paul states that he is not crazy. What he is says is true—in other words, it is in accordance with reality and the facts. It is also reasonable, and Paul appeals to the king’s knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection. This was known to the public at large, and not just to a select few.

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